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Unifying Construction Maintenance, Scheduling and Field Tracking

Read the article in Modern Contractor Solutions magazine

February 2020

Unified Software

 

Connecting workflows in real time

Switching from paper and spreadsheets to specialized software brings proven advantages to the equipment maintenance workflow. The benefits increase when that fleet management software is connected in real time with the construction scheduling software and the field tracking software. Here are two practical examples of how New York heavy highway contractor Lancaster Development uses a unified platform every day to gain efficiency, cut costs and increase equipment uptime.

MAINTAINING EQUIPMENT 

Doing maintenance when equipment is not being used seems like an obvious strategy. A recent survey, The State of Heavy Construction Scheduling and Dispatch, sponsored by B2W with more than 200 contractor participants, however, suggests many contractors may not grasp how connecting the maintenance and scheduling workflows is necessary to make this happen.

When asked who would benefit from real-time visibility into the schedule, contractors put project managers (71 percent), schedulers and dispatchers (71 percent), and foremen (60 percent) at the top of the list; only 12 percent cited equipment or shop managers.

Dan Corbett sees things differently. “One reason we switched to construction maintenance software is to have an all-in-one package, where everything is tied together, and we get a streamlined effect,” the equipment manager for Lancaster Development explains. “Prior to this, we were using a generic maintenance software package that did not couple with anything else we were using in the company as far as the jobs go.”

With maintenance software unified with scheduling software, Corbett’s team can see planned and actual equipment utilization at jobsites. They use that insight to service equipment at times that don’t interrupt the job whenever possible. “We look at the schedule and say ‘hey, they’re not using it on a specific day,’ and we coordinate so we do the maintenance on that day,” he explains. “This has been very helpful to us and it provides the crews a vast uptick in uptime.”

Don Corbett, Lancaster Development

BETTER REPAIR REQUESTS

Repair requests drive a lot of non-preventive maintenance work. Relying on phone calls or a paper-based process typically delays the flow of that information from the field to the shop by a week or two and often leads to incomplete information and forgotten calls.

An electronic process allows richer, structured data to be submitted instantly. At Lancaster Development, operators and managers create work requests in the field using the same field tracking software that they use for performance reporting. The maintenance team sees those requests immediately in the construction maintenance software and can respond faster and more efficiently, addressing small problems before they become big ones or before they force unnecessary downtime.

CLOSING THOUGHT

“It’s been a win-win situation for the field and the maintenance department for the crews to have the ability to put in a work request,” says Corbett. “On the fly, as they’re doing things, they can submit a request.” Operators and foremen elaborate in the notes section on concerns or issues. They can even add pictures. 

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